15 Aug 1stXV Taranaki Secondary Schools Premier A Rugby Champions
On 12 August 2017 the boys from the coast, took on the boys from the south at the home of Taranaki Rugby. The Opunake First XV marched through the championship unbeaten, rolling Waitara HS in their semi to meet Hawera in the Grand Final. These sides fought out a tough round robin encounter so the final promised to be epic.
It took until well into the first half for either side to give up any points, with Luke Berquist kicking a penalty from 45m. This seemed to put a bit of fire in the belly of the OHS boys as they rolled onto attack, and after series of solo drives at the line, Hawera gave up the first try of the game, scored in a tackle by Berquist, who also knocked the conversion over. Halftime 10-0 to the green machine.
Hawera started the second half strongly, camping out in the OHS 22 until Jordan Clement made a telling bust up midfield to relieve some pressure. A little while later Benny Shelford showed off some foot skills to make Lionel Messi proud as he pounced on a Hawera fumble to jink his way to the try-line. Conversion wide, 15-0.
With just 7 minutes on the clock, and OHS looking to have things under control including repelling a few attacking 5m scrums, somehow Hawera got the ball out wide scoring in the corner. If TMO had been in operation – it was 50/50 whether they scored. The Hawera conversion hit the cross bar and scores were 15-5 with 5min to play.
After one more surge by Hawera, a big midfield bust by OHS saw our coastal boys with a couple of 5m scrums to try and put the result beyond doubt. Final score 20-5
After a few goes, it was fitting the Morpheus Nuku hit a gap and dived over for the match winner. Nuku had a massive second half, the kick went wide, but it was all over.
Opunake First XV – Secondary Schools Premier A CHAMPIONS!
1st XV Team standing left: Jakob Whakatutu, Sione Tuitupou, Morpheus Nuku, Benjamin Shelford, Zeno Hess, Taine Morgan, Shaan Wineera, Tane Jones, Rihari Ratahi, Tanek Tapiki, Jack Hooper, Brody Symes, Harley Loveridge-Seymour, Kade Sinclair, Jono Butler, Kenan Sionetama, Luke Berquist, Raniera Tuuta, Mr Reid (Manager) absent Michael Jones and Mark Davis coaches.
Front: Joshua Young, Ben Ederveen, Jordan Clement, DJ Kahukaka, Daniel Woodfield, Herne Minhinnick